Build your LMS Implementation Team

TeamAfter extensive research, countless excel comparison spreadsheets and a mind-numbing array of vendor presentations, the LMS vendor and the exact package is chosen. Then the fun really starts – contract negotiations! First of all, I am not a lawyer. I am not familiar with contract law, or even legal terminology. If you are like me (and 99% of other L&D professionals I know are) it would be a good idea to get a team together, consisting of:

1. Legal Department
Get your legal department on board early. In most companies the legal department will have to be involved before any contracts can be signed anyway, but don’t assume that you can do all your negotiations and then present them with the “finished” article. You can’t. Undoubtedly they will find legal terms or wordings that an average person might skim over, but that have them gasping in shock. Best to get them onboard to sort out their side at the same time as you are hammering out the commercial information.

2. IT Representative
Okay, so you’ve possibly decided to go outside of IT and host your LMS independently (with the LMS vendor or a hosting company) however, much as the IT department is maligned for putting road blocks in the way of new projects, the support of the right IT person in contract negotiation is invaluable. What is the standard SLA on a systems contract? What are the standard clauses in a software licensing contract? What is the average daily rate for an IT development contractor? Don’t know? Exactly! Someone in IT with day-job responsibility for negotiating with vendors and managing contracts will take one look at your first-draft contract and immediately pick out all the items that will cause you headaches down the line.

3. L&D Member(s)
You, an IT person and the company lawyer might think it’s acceptable to negotiate an SLA of 4 days for an urgent query, but the person on the ground, who will be relying on the system to carry out their day job, might have very different ideas! Involving one or two key L&D members at this stage allows you to get their input, but also allows them to witness the give-and-take of the negotiations first hand. This can help to smooth your way later in the implementation. If they’ve seen the negotiations in progress and they can understand why a certain point had to be conceded or why a certain feature was traded for another service, then they are more likely to accept the finished system and work within its limitations.

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